In a series of brilliant snapshots, each a distinct bit of a larger story, Maurice Sartre’s Histoires Grecques spans the grand narrative of Greek culture over a thousand years and a vast expanse of land and sea. From Homer to Damascius, from recent discoveries in Kandahar to an account of the murder of Hypatia in 415 CE, each snapshot captures a moment in the history of Greek civilization. Together they offer a fresh perspective on an ancient culture whose wealth and depth of thought, variety and multiplicity of accomplishments, and astonishing continuity through time and space have made it the Western world’s culture of reference.
A textual fragment, a coin, an epigraph: each artifact and image launches Sartre—and his readers—on a journey into the practical mysteries of Greek civilization. Ranging from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean world, these excursions—step by step, moment by moment—finally amount to a panoramic vision of one of the most important civilizations of all time. Histoires Grecques shows the newcomer and the seasoned scholar alike how history itself is written—and imparts the experience, and the pleasure, of discovering history as discrete stories seen through the eyes of one of the most eminent historians of ancient Greece.